Routers are not plug-and-play devices, so you need to know how to configure a router. Configuring a router the right way will give your local network security and a more stable internet connection. Before you begin, make sure your router and modem are powered on. Also, reset the router to its default settings if it's not brand new. Press and hold the reset button for 30 seconds while your router is powered on. This button is located at the back of most routers. Then, follow the steps below to configure your router.
To configure a router, you will need:
A reliable router
- A network cable
- A broadband internet connection
- The modem from your internet service provider (ISP)
- Hook up your computer to the router. For a wired connection, take a network cable and plug it into your computer. The other end goes into a port behind your router labeled by a number. There are typically four or five of these ports. Do not connect your computer to the port marked "WAN" or "internet". This port is for your modem. If you have a wireless router, connect your computer to the wireless broadcast of your router. The default wireless network name of most routers is the brand of the router. Linksys wireless routers, for example, have a default Wi-Fi name of "Linksys."
- Connect your modem to the router. Take another network cable and connect it to your modem. Take the other end of the cable and connect it to the network port on the router not labeled with a number. This port is usually labeled with "WAN" or "internet" on most brands.
- Use an internet browser to configure the router. Type the IP address of your router on the URL address bar on the browser. Most routers have a default IP address of "192.168.1.1" or "192.168.0.1." Check your router's manual if either of these don't work. Also check the manual for the username and password of the router. Type in the login information on the browser and you should see the router's settings page on the browser.
- Check your internet connection type. Not all internet connections require a login. Ask your internet service provider (ISP) if you have a PPPoE account. This type of account requires a username and password. On the homepage of your router's settings, locate a field labeled "Internet Connection Type" or similar. This is a dropdown box. Select "PPPoE." Type in the username and password your ISP provided you on this page. Skip this step if your ISP says you don't have a PPPoE account. Click the "Save" button located at the bottom of most routers' webpages.
- Configure your wireless settings. Click on the menu option labeled "Wireless" on the top menu if you have a wireless router. This will take you to the wireless settings page of your router. Change the SSID or network name to any name you prefer. If you have a computer that supports an 802.11n connection, select this type of network under the field marked "Network Mode." Most computers support 802.11g. Select this from the dropdown if your unit doesn't support 802.11n; 802.11b is the oldest type of wireless connection. Don't forget to click the "Save" button on the webpage.
- Secure your wireless network. Select the top menu option labeled "Wireless Security" or similar. This will take you to the wireless security settings of the router. Enable wireless security by picking a radio box or dropdown choice marked "Enable" under the wireless security field on this page. Select "WEP" or "WPA Personal." Some older devices support only WEP. WEP allows hexadecimal characters which could be any number or any letter from A to F. WPA Personal lets you choose a password made up of any number or letter. Click the "Save" button on the page.
Restart your router after changing your router's settings. You can do this by unplugging your router's power cord and plugging it back in after ten seconds. You can safely play with the advanced settings on your router. Restart your router as mentioned above to its default settings if you've configured it wrong.